Gaius Fulvius Plautianus

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Gaius Fulvius Plautianus
6865 - Plauziano(Museo Pio-Clementino) - Foto Giovanni Dall'Orto, 10 june 2011.jpg
BornLeptis Magna, Africa Province
AllegianceRoman Empire
Years of service197–205
RankPraetorian prefect
UnitPraetorian Guard
Other workConsul of the Roman Empire in 203

Gaius or Lucius Fulvius Plautianus (c. 150 – 22 January 205) was a member of the Roman gens Fulvia. Like Sejanus and Cleande, as head of the Praetorian Guard, he was formally extraordinary powerful and influential in the administration of state affairs, and was involved with Julia Domna, the powerful wife of Septimius Severus, in influencing the emperor's decisions.

Plautianus was originally from Leptis Magna, southeast of Carthage (modern Libya, North Africa). He was a maternal cousin and long-time friend of the Emperor Septimius Severus. Plautianus' father was another Gaius Fulvius Plautianus, born c. 130, whose sister, Fulvia Pia (c. 125 - after 198), was married to Severus' father Publius Septimius Geta.[1]

Plautianus was Praefectus vigilum (commander of the Vigiles in Rome) from 193 to 197.[2]

Plautianus was appointed prefect of the Praetorian Guard in 197.[3] Due to their friendship, Severus rewarded Plautianus with various honors, including a consular insignia, a seat in the Roman Senate and the Consulship of 203. During his consulship, Plautianus' image was minted on coins along with Severus' second son Publius Septimius Geta.

He assisted Severus in administering the empire and became very wealthy and powerful. Severus made him his second in command. He fought hard with Julia Domna the wife of Emperor to run the government. In 202, Plautianus married his daughter Publia Fulvia Plautilla to Caracalla (Severus’ first son and co-emperor) in Rome.[4] Plautianus began to conduct himself like a ruthless ruler, having those who opposed him assassinated or executed at will. Plautianus became so powerful that Caracalla and his effective mother, Julia Domna, began to be concerned. Aware of her reservations, Plautianus sought to disrepute honor and power Julia. He had her servants and friends arrested and tortured in hopes of extracting some damaging testimony against her, however in doing so he achieved nothing.[5]

The marriage between Caracalla and Publia Fulvia Plautilla was not a happy one. In fact, Caracalla loathed both her and her father, threatening to kill them after becoming sole emperor.[6] When Plautianus discovered this, he plotted to overthrow Severus' family.[7][8]

When Plautianus' treachery was discovered, the imperial family summoned him to the palace and ordered his death on 22 January 205. After his death, at the request of Julia Domna, Plautianus’ property was confiscated, his name was erased from public monuments, and his son of the same name, daughter and granddaughter were exiled to Sicily. They were all strangled on Caracalla's orders in early 212.[8]


He married Hortensia and had:[9]


  1. ^ Anthony Birley, Septimius Severus, The African Emperor, revised edition (New Haven: Yale University, 1988), p. 220
  2. ^ Ostia inscription CIL XIV, 4380
  3. ^ AE 1935, 156
  4. ^ "Herodian 3.10 - Livius". Retrieved 2019-11-23.
  5. ^ Kerrigan, Michael (2016-07-15). The Untold History of the Roman Emperors. Cavendish Square. p. 204. ISBN 978-1-5026-1910-5.
  6. ^ "Herodian 3.10.8 - Livius". Retrieved 2019-11-23.
  7. ^ "Herodian 3.11 - Livius". Retrieved 2019-11-23.
  8. ^ a b Kerrigan, Michael (2016-07-15). The Untold History of the Roman Emperors. Cavendish Square. p. 207. ISBN 978-1-5026-1910-5.
  9. ^ Birley, Septimius Severus, p. 225
  10. ^ Birley, Septimius Severus, p. 221


Political offices
Preceded by
Titus Murrenius Severus,
and Gaius Cassius Regallianus

as Suffect consuls
Consul of the Roman Empire
with Publius Septimius Geta
Succeeded by
Lucius Fabius Cilo,
and Marcus Annius Flavius Libo